divendres, 4 de setembre de 2009

An unbelievable goddamn scene

"We had a couple of interesting prisoners of war who had worked as film editors in the SS—Kurt von Molo and Walter Rode. The SS had filmed what we would call atrocities. Von Molo and Rode told us where they thought the films were. They told me that these films that they made were called desserts because Goebbels and the other top Nazis would show them to their guests after dinner. Von Molo and Rode hated each other. Each one told me that he himself was forced to do this but the other was really a Nazi. Von Molo told me that while he was working for the SS, a Jewish friend of his had hidden in his house through the war until the end, when he got caught and taken to a concentration camp. I was fed up with his story because—we used to laugh about it—we did not meet a single German who didn’t have a Jew in the attic, not one. So one day I said to von Molo, “I’ve got to tell you the truth, Kurt. I am sick to death of hearing these goddamn stories about Jews in the attic!” Von Molo said, “Well, the grapevine says that my friend is back in Berlin.” I said. “Well, Kurt, let’s take this whole day off. Let’s start in the morning, early in the morning, and look for your friend.” Sounds crazy, but we did. This guy’s girlfriend was a ballet dancer. Kurt thought he could find her. After hours and hours driving through the rubble of Berlin we finally did. She said, “Yes, he’s back. He has come back; he’s survived.” She told us where to look. Finally, after spending most of the day in destroyed Berlin—there was barely a rooftop left, God, what a mess it was—I swear to God we found this man. It was an unbelievable goddamn scene. There he was, still in his concentration camp uniform or pajamas, whatever stinking thing it was. We found him! And they embraced. Like a bad movie scene, they embraced, and the poor guy said to me, “This man saved my life.” After that I decided that Rode must be the Nazi!"

Budd Schulberg, The Paris Review. The art of Fiction no.169. Interviewed by Kurt Vonnegut.

(Budd Schulberg died on August 5th. Here you'll find the obituary published on The New York Times)